The ability to take timely, clear and firm decisions is an essential quality of leadership, but the type of decision needed, varies according to the circumstances. Learning to recognize the implications of taking each type of different decisions leads to error minimization.
1. Being Positive
Taking decisive action does not mean making decisions on the spur of the moment. Although, it may be necessary in emergencies and as also occasionally desirable for other reasons. A true leader approaches the decisions confidently, being aware of consequences and fully in command of the entire decision–making process.
2. Making Fast Decisions
It is important to be able to assess whether a decision needs to be made quickly or it can wait. Good decision-makers often do make instant decisions – but they then assess the long-term implications.
3. Identifying issues
It is crucial to diagnose problems correctly. Before any decision is made identifying and defining the issue removes the criticality. This also means deciding who else needs to be involved in the issue, and analyzing the implication of their involvement.
4. Prioritizing factors
While making a decision, a manager needs to prioritize on important factors. Some factors in a process are more important than others. The use of Pareto’s rule of Vital Few and Trivial may help in setting up of the priorities. Giving every factor affecting a decision equal weight makes sense only if every factor is equally important. The Pareto rule concentrates on the significant 20 percent and gives the less important 80 percent lower priority.
5. Using advisers
It is advisable to involve as many people as are needed in making a decision. In making collective decisions, specific expertise as well as experience of a person both can be used simultaneously. The decision-maker, having weighed the advice of experts and experienced hands, must then use authority to ensure that the final decision is seen through.
6. Whetting decisions
If one does not have the full autonomy to proceed, it is advisable to consult the relevant authority – not just for the final go, but also for the input. It is always in the interest of the subordinate to have the plans whetted by a senior colleague whose judgment is trusted and who is experienced. Even if there is no need to get the decision sanctioned, the top people are likely to lend their cooperation well if they have been kept fully informed all the way long, of the decision path.